Whether through her leadership of The Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland or carrying on her mother’s legacy to bring art to Jewish Baltimore, Marcia Bornfriend has proven an invaluable part of the community.
A resident of Pikesville and a lifelong member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Bornfriend currently serves as president of The Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland. She described it as a 106-year-old organization committed to leadership training, support of the Jewish community and advocacy on issues of concern, often for women. She added that the Federation serves as an umbrella for around 25 other groups, including Associated Women, Kappa Guild and Israel Bonds Maryland
In addition, Bornfriend is one of the directors of BHC’s Hoffberger Gallery and a vice president of Women of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. She expects to be installed as president of Women of BHC by the end
Bornfriend’s parents were originally from Pennsylvania, she said, and moved to the Baltimore area in the 1940s. They joined BHC, where Bornfriend attended Sunday school.
Bornfriend graduated from Towson State College with a degree in education, with an emphasis in art, she said. She earned her master’s degree, with an emphasis in art, there as well, although by that time it had become Towson State University. Bornfriend later studied technology at the University of Maryland.
Bornfriend worked for 30 years as an art teacher in Baltimore, she said, and is an artist, with some of her works appearing in galleries. She often does abstract paintings, commonly in watercolor or acrylic.
Bornfriend has also worked as a technology support teacher, training teachers how to use different technologies for their lessons.
BHC’s Hoffberger Gallery was actually started by Bornfriend’s mother, Claire Bornfriend, in the 1970s.
“She developed it, and I sort of inherited it from her when she passed, which was 26 years ago,” said Bornfriend. Claire was a self-taught artist and served as BHC’s art teacher for more than 30 years. As a teenager, Bornfriend began helping her mother in the classroom before making it her focus during her college days.
“I knew I always wanted to be an art teacher, so my mother’s influence was that,” Bornfriend said.
Bornfriend explained that she had been on the Hoffberger Gallery’s committee for years by the time her mother retired from it.
Bornfriend initially got involved with The Federation of Jewish Women’s Organizations of Maryland at the invitation of a past president of the Federation, who recommended Bornfriend attend one of the group’s committee meetings.
“I attended that meeting, and I ended up doing their design for their invitation for their convention at the time, and I got hooked,” said Bornfriend. “And I started working on any artwork that they needed for advertising. … Eventually, I started doing more positions to the point where, two years ago, I became president of the Federation.”
Bornfriend believes that her facility with technology may have played a particularly important role in attaining the position, specifically citing her understanding of Zoom at a time when virtual meetings rose in popularity. She highlighted the pride she found in her work to support the Federation during the pandemic.
Bornfriend is particularly grateful for the chance the Federation gives her to work alongside different and accomplished people. “So many talented, talented people that have so many gifts that I just enjoy being around,” said Bornfriend, “and if I can be a part of that, and give my little whatever to, I’m happy.”